Spain: May 1550

Pages 80-94

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 10, 1550-1552. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1914.

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May 1550

May 2. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Sire: According to that which I, Francis Van der Delft, lately wrote to your Majesty, that the Lady Mary greatly desired to have speech with me, I went to see her at a place some thirty miles from here named Woodham Walter, (fn. 1) particularly in order to repeat to her that which the memoir brought back by my secretary contained. The Lady Mary informed me that she had heard through some good friends that it was the Council's intention to deprive her, or at any rate her household, of the mass; and having heard also that I had met the Council since, she wished to know if they had spoken to me on the subject. She particularly desired to know if my secretary had brought back news of any determination on your Majesty's part, as she could see that except by favour of your Majesty she could hardly hope to escape from the danger that threatened her, which went on increasing as time passed. She asked me to give her my opinion and advice on the matter, being hemned in by necessity. In the first place I told her that your Majesty desired and intended to preserve her against all danger and trouble that might threaten her person. I then declared to her everything, as your Majesty charged me, to induce her to temporise, and I proceeded to give her instances of what had occurred in the royal house of Fiance, saying the same might also happen to the King her brother, bringing the succession to the crown to her. In that event her absence would deprive her of the crown, and religion would be set aside for good without any hope of mending it, which was a great consideration, and touched her conscience closely. She answered immediately: “If my brother were to die, I should be far better out of the kingdom; because as soon as he were dead, before the people knew it, they would despatch me too; there is no doubt of that, because you know that there is nobody about the King's person or in the government who is not inimicsl to me. They would be so afraid of me that before the people heard how it had pleased God to deal with the King, they would kill me by some means or other. I am certain that the Emperor, and all who reflect on examples of the past in England, and consider the ample opportunity they would have of executing their evil plans, and the lack of reason (i.e. justice) practised here, will agree that in order to acquire the kingdom it would be more than necessary for me to be out of it in the event you mention. I feel certain that the whole country would be favourable to me and would set no one in my place in violation of my rights, if I were safe myself in a place of safety. May God have my brother in His keeping. I desire nothing else except to live in peace without burdening my conscience. But as I see clearly that I shall not be allowed to do so if I remain here, I am quite resolved to withdraw elsewhere, and I hope the Emperor's Majesty and my friends will not fail me. Concerning his Majesty's advice, that I should temporise, even up to the point when they will forbid me the mass,—although his Majesty does not believe they would really dare to be so insolent,—I would most willingly do as it seems best to the Emperor. But I fear I may tarry too long; and if the Council were possessed of the same foresight that the late King my father had, I should be too late even now to save myself. When they send me orders forbidding me the mass, I shall expect to suffer as I suffered once during my father's lifetime; they will order me to withdraw thirty miles from any navigable river or sea-port, and will deprive me of my confidential servants, and having reduced me to the utmost destitution, they will deal with me as they please. But I will rather suffer death than stain my conscience. I beg you to help me with your advice, so that I may not be taken unawares.” I gave her an account of your Majesty's request that letters-patent might be granted to her to enable her to continue in the observance of the ancient religion, together with her entire household. I told her that the Council had given me a verbal promise last year, as I had been anxious to leave them no excuse for attacking her. “I dare say,” she replied, “that they refused to give it; as they are now attempting to deprive me of the mass, and because they are about to overthrow all the altars.”
Sire: I softened the tone of the answer given me by the Council, as much as I could, and attenuated their other remarks of which I wrote an account to your Majesty in my last letters. But she observed: “It is evident to all, and the whole world may see that such people fear no God and respect no persons, but follow their own fancy; and my cause is so righteous in God's sight, that if his Majesty favours me I shall be able to justify it to the whole world, and I need take no further justification by delaying until I am past all help.” She appeared to be so extremely distressed that I told her she must not doubt that your Majesty would welcome her if she could safely make her escape. I added that your Majesty entertained great anxiety on that point, because of several objections and considerations which I alleged; and that your Majesty had attempted to rescue her by the safer means of a marriage with the Infante Don Luis of Portugal, which the Council were now about to take up again, and were only waiting to hear the means of the said Don Luis, which your Majesty had formerly undertaken to ascertain for them. For this reason I could give her no better advice than to temporise until we could see what would happen.
“This is another point I wished to discuss with you,” said she. “During the last few days the Council sent one of then: number, called Mr. (Sir Edward) North to inform me that the Marquis of Brandenburg (fn. 2) had asked for my hand in marriage, and that the Council desired to know my inclination. I answered that the idea of marriage was furthest from my thoughts, and that considering the youth of my brother, I would not consent to a marriage or anything else, without the advice and counsel of the Emperor whom I considered as a father, being his near relative. And he took this answer away with him. Now I perceive,” said she, “that with the excuse of one marriage or the other they propose to keep me in suspense until his Majesty is further away, and then crush me completely. I must provide against this, and I therefore beg you very affectionately to lend me your help and inform his Majesty of everything with all haste, so that he may assist me. Tell him of the means that I possess as I explained to you, and do not forget my most humble recommendations to his Majesty's good grace, and my thanks for the care it has pleased him to take of me. Do so in my stead, as I shall not write myself for fear of troubling him too often with my letters.”
I advised her at all events to make no move until my secretary returned, so that we might know your Majesty's intention and determination; and she declared she would do so, and carry out your Majesty's pleasure in all things, although the means she mentioned could be made use of very soon, and she was afraid to delay too long. She repeated that if she had to deal with people who possessed any sense of justice, she would have found your Majesty's advice to temporise very good. “But,” said she, “as they are wicked and wily in their actions, and particularly malevolent towards me, I must not wait till the blow falls. It would be too late then to provide a remedy. If the Emperor thinks they would never have the insolence to deprive me of the mass, he has too good an opinion of them. Did he know them as well as I do, he would think I am delaying too long, considering how far they are from God and from the way of righteousness, without respect for anyone. I hope therefore, that when he shall be fully informed of everything by you he will not put off assisting me in my great danger.”
She had other conversation with me, and always proved herself to be wise, prudent and virtuous; and it would be all the more pitiful to see her oppressed and troubled by those who are enemies of our faith and unjust men.
Therefore, subject to your Majesty's correction, I will shortly say what I opine, and I will describe in detail, as your Majesty commands me, the means I know of for the safety of the said lady. In the first place, is it necessary to make such haste as she recommends? I cannot think otherwise but that they will compel the Lady Mary by any and every means to forego the observance of our ancient religion, if I consider the ways adopted by them to consolidate their domination and abolish the memory of the old religion. To this end, they have strengthened their party by including the Protector in the Council. They have always professed that the Lady Mary was a subject and vassal of the King, and as much under the law as the least in the kingdom; and more especially I take into consideration that they are about to break their promise to me, as they had granted me the celebration of the mass for the Lady Mary and her household. When matters come to the worst pass the said lady will be unable to help herself, and it will be difficult to help her, because she will be closely watched. All the good people in the kingdom, who are still certainly very numerous, would lose heart and hope if the Lady Mary were utterly crushed. They suffer with patience now, to avoid the danger of having the blame laid upon her shoulders for any attempt they might make to get their wrongs redressed, as it happened last year when the peasants rose in revolt. I perceived when I appeared before the Council that any trouble and dissensions that might occur in the kingdom would he attributed to her, because she will not conform with their hesesy. The good people here all wish her to be in a place of safety, and they would look less to their own immunity. Nevertheless I believe the Council will not resort to extreme measures against her until they receive your Majesty's reply concerning the estate of the Infante Don Luis. By what I can perceive they are now quite inclined to favour the said marriage and rid themselves of the Lady Mary in that way, knowing well that they will never bend her to their religion, wherefore they must always entertain suspicions and anxiety (on her account). But if their new resolve is allowed time to cool, it is to be feared that being so changeable, they may take the opportunity of trying to put into effect their designs concerning the said lady, and place her under restraint after having thus conceded this much (to the requirements of justice) that they will have made an attempt to get her married, and not insisted on keeping her here. This is the opinion of the Lady Mary, who does not believe they will ever allow her to leave the country. My own opinion is to the contrary, provided your Majesty will assist in carrying the match through. I submit to your Majesty, under correction, that it is urgent that your Majesty should incontinently make any declaration you propose to utter; for it is to be feared otherwise that they will not spare the Lady Mary much longer, and she is quite determined not to wait here till the blow falls, for any consideration whatsoever, of marriage, or any other fortune the world can give. With this object in view she has changed her abode and withdrawn herself to another house only two miles distant from an arm of the sea (whereas her place of Beaulieu is four miles further inland), with the excuse of having Beaulieu cleaned and repaired.
The means she has thought of (for her safety) are these: her controller, (fn. 3) who governs her house, and is a very worthy man, wise and discreet, and very loyal and competent in her service, and has many friends of our religion who bring com and other provisions daily by boat for the use of my lady's household, has undertaken to have a vessel ready, and no one shall know her destination except one man, an old and tried friend of his, whose faith and loyalty have been proved on many occasions, and are known also to the said lady. To this man the controller would open his heart, and the Lady Mary with four of her ladies whom she trusts more than the rest, and her controller, with two gentlemen, one of whom is very rich, but would willingly give up all he possesses to follow my lady to a place of safely, will go on board the said vessel. There are several others, and rich men. too, who would willingly follow her, but she dares not trust (her secret) to all. She proposes that the chosen ones shall not be told of the plan until the hour at night when she shall summon them to depart with her; and there is no one in England now who knows of this plan except the Lady Mary, the controller of her household, myself, and my secretary; for the man in charge of the vessel, though he is entirely trusted, yet knows no more at present than that his vessel is to carry the person of the controller.
If this deed is to be done, Sire, it seems to me that the Lady Mary's plan is more suitable than the plan I had excogitated, namely, that when your Majesty recalls me, as I most humbly beseech that it may please you to do, I should take the longer sea-route and keep a vessel or two here ostensibly to convey me, my furniture and horses; and that once I was safely out of the Thames I should sail to the mouth of the river that comes up to Maiden, near my lady's house, when the wind and tide proved favourable. Until the favourable hour I should hang off where no suspicions should be aroused. Your Majesty's ordinances concerning navigation would make the undertaking still safer; for three vessels together, properly armed as they are now supposed to be, would frighten away the pirates who up to the present have always come up to us. I saw no greater difficulty in the execution of this plan than that the wind might fail us. We would beware of attempting anything unless the wind was favourable, because the people here have a great number of pinnaces, galleys and great rowing barges. Your Majesty could checkmate them there, by permitting that your vessels now at sea should be ordered to go to the sand-banks off the coast of England, under colour of protecting me against the pirates and Scots, as the English escorted me with their vessels of war when I crossed from Dover on my journey to your Majesty. We should make for the nearest port on your Majesty's dominions, according to the favour of the wind. This plan would help greatly, and it would be necessary to reassure the lady when she found herself out of her own house on the open sea. She could carry away nothing except her rings and jewels. The plate she uses belongs to the King, as I suppose the tapestries and other furniture do.
There is no doubt that if this plan (the flight) is accomplished, they will revenge themselves upon me and lay all the blame on my shoulders. I do not fear the Tower (i.e. imprisonment) so much as that in a fit of fury they might make me suffer (die). If I were ignorant of the whole thing and could transfer the blame to someone else 1 should fear nothing; and whoever succeeds me here need have no fear either, if he be totally ignorant of the whole affair. I do not know if your Majesty desires to acknowledge yourself aware of the fact or not; but it seems to me under correction, as your Majesty knows best what suits your affairs, that you might well dissimulate any knowledge, and so improve your own case and remain unshaken in your position towards the people here, who could be blamed by your Majesty for the dangers with which they threatened the Lady Mary. You might thus make them responsible for having broken their promises and pressed her so hard against all justice; and I can prove it sufficiently if any ulterior justification is required, by my own knowledge of what has passed with me.
I repeat again, Sire, that I remain in my persuasion that all I have set down above will be unnecessary if your Majesty will give overt proof of desiring the marriage, and carry out the conditions settled with Paget. Your Majesty may remember the reason why this same match fell through thirteen years ago, namely, as I understand, because the dower which it was proposed to settle on the said lady was not sufficient in the opinion of the late King.
In the event of these negotiations being so long delayed that the Lady Mary should deem it necessary to forestall the danger, I cannot tell what would become of me. I therefore beseech your Majesty to give me leave to return, and to send another in my place. If the match were to fall through (though I believe those of the Council will not fail to premote it on their side) it would be necessary that he (my successor) should be already on his way, so that I might leave before the said lady and help to make the sea-passage safe for her. If it is your Majesty's pleasure, I could very well wait for her without being suspected; nor would it rouse suspicions if I went by sea, because I could feign to be so ill with my complaint of the gout, that I could not endure the journey on horseback.
Were it not for the proposed marriage the plan would be easier to entertain now than it would have been two or three months ago; because the English might have entered into some closer pact with France, to your Majesty's prejudice, if they had had some grave source of annoyance. Now they have no means to do harm,' and no credit, and have given up Boulogne, they have nothing more to offer the French, to whom they have also sacrificed their reputation.
Your Majesty orders me to express myself more clearly as to why I beheve that the good people in England would take courage if the Lady Mary were to withdraw from the country. I cannot say anything more than I have said above and written on former occasions to your Majesty. The good people suffer oppression patiently because they hope for no favour, and because the Lady Mary is in as evil a plight; and because any attempt they might make (to avenge their wrongs) would be visited upon her and she would bear the blame. Their love for their religion, and for the virtues of the said lady, make them wish to see her out of the reach of harm, and then try their hand to see what they can do. If she were over the sea it is very likely that she could greatly benefit this kingdom by giving encouragement to the good folk, and by showing up in writing to the King and his Parliament the evil government (of the Council) whence the ruin of the Kingdom will proceed, for she is well aware of everything, I have no doubt that several of the principal men here would not be sorry if it were done. By these means your Majesty would acquire the good-will of a great part of the kingdom, and would instil trouble and fear into the minds of those who, believing themselves safe, take no account of anyone. I have been told for certain that the Marquis of Northampton said he was surprised that your Majesty should interfere in the matter of the Lady Mary's religion, because although she is your near relation, her relationship to the King is still closer; and that your Majesty had no business to interfere in their ordinances and religion, the friendship between you and the King being established for the purpose of keeping both countries in peace and secure from attack by their enemies, and not for your further interference in their government here, as the English do not interfere with you. This proves what I say.
Sire: I beseech your Majesty to forgive me if in what I have said above I have dared to advance my opinion too far. I have done so that your Majesty may thoroughly understand the tenor of the affair. I am sending my secretary with this writing for greater security, and to make more ample exposition if need be, as he has seen the places mentioned herein. He is ostensibly going to solicit my recall before your Majesty's departure (from the Netherlands); and for that purpose I mention the matter again in the letters he is known to be carrying on him.
London, 2 May, 1550.
Holograph. French.
May 2. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Sire: Since my last letters to your Majesty of the 22nd of last month nothing worthy of note has occurred here. Four or five days ago there arrived in this town of London, M.d' Enghien; the son of Montmorency; and the son of M. de Guise (fn. 4) married to my Lady the Sénéchale, who had stayed at Calais. They have been received at court at Greenwich and most honourably welcomed. They will return to France in three days' time, as Boulogne has been delivered up, and the first payment of two hundred thousand crowns made. The English hostages are also on their way back. It is said that M. de Guise will proceed hence to visit his sister the Queen of Scots. The hostages who first came here are to remain until the second payment is made.
The English soldiers from the Boulonnais are partly to remain at Calais, and the rest to go to Ireland. They propose to retain their chief captains for some time yet, for fear of their own people, as I hear, lest they may rise again in revolt. All their foreign troops have been disbanded except two companies of horse and one of foot soldiers that are still in Scotland, I cannot tell for what purpose if the inclusion of the Scots is to be accepted. I cannot ascertain this point, as no mention of Scotland is made here at present.
The Earl of Warwick and the Protector are in close communication, visiting one another every day; but I cannot discover what the purport of these earnest and constant interviews may be.
Sire: I am sending my secretary with this letter to your Majesty to solicit again that you will grant me your leave to retire from my post, which I have occupied during the last six years to my great loss. The expense, indeed, is such that I can no longer bear it, as is only too well known. I therefore beseech your Majesty most humbly to grant me leave to retire before your Majesty's departure from your Low Countries.
London, 2 May, 1550.
Holograph. French.
May 11. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 29. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: I have written in my preceding letters to your Majesty, that the King of France sent MM. du Mortier and Bochetel to get the peace lately concluded between France and England sworn by the King of that country; or that those who are empowered to do so during his minority should swear it in his name. I suppose that the Council, or others chosen and deputed for the purpose, will have sworn it. The King of England on the other hand has despatched the Deputy-Governor of Calais, otherwise known as Lord Cobham, and Secretaries Mason and Petre to the King of France to make him swear the peace and perpetual observance of it. They arrived here at Amiens on the 7th of the month with a goodly following and well-equipped, escorted and accompanied by M. d'Andelot and several other gentlemen of this court. On the following day, the 8th, about nine o'clock in the morning a mass to the Holy Ghost was chanted and celebrated with great solemnity in the church of Our Lady. When the mass was over the Chancellor gave the word to the ambassadors and deputies of England and answered them too, on the King's behalf, outlining in general terms the causes that had prompted the two princes to treat the peace, tending to the general welfare of Christendom, the two sovereigns and their people; which peace having been ratified and accepted, there remained only the swearing of it to have it wholly concluded, and the ambassadors from England, invested with sufficient authority by their sovereign, were come, he said, to France for the purpose of requesting the King to swear it. The Chancellor declared and testified that he had held in his own hands the document conferring the said authority upon the envoys, had examined it, and found it sufficient; whereupon the King had acceded to their just and reasonable requests, and had ordered him to declare it, and to draw up in writing the form of the oath according to the wish of the said ambassadors. This was done, as the reading of the oath, which was about to take place, would prove. Secretary I'Aubespine at this point took up the document, which was in Latin, to read it out; but the King read it himself and pronounced it intelligibly. Then he put his hand on the Grospel of God and swore it solemnly as it is the custom to do in such cases, signed it, and delivered it over to the English ambassadors who accepted and received it. The ceremony was conducted with great pomp. The King was surrounded by the Knights of his Order, such as M. de Vendôme who arrived at court a week ago, my Lords of Guise, Montpensier, Prince de la Roche-sur-Yonne, the Constable, Count de Villers, Peter Strozzi, the Chevalier Loys(?), M. de Longueville, and great numbers of the nobility of France who are accompanying the King on this journey to Boulogne. The ambassadors to this court were all convened, but I alone was present, as none of the others had arrived. The Deputy-Governor of Calais and Secretary Petre are leaving to-morrow for England. The King has presented them with silver-gilt plate. Mr. Mason will remain as ambassador to the King of France at his court; and he has brought with him and presented to the King a young Italian who says he comes from Pavia. He came to see me and made a long speech about his adventures. He said he was taken to England as a child, brought up there and called to the King's service; that he has spent the greater part of his life at your Majesty's court, and that he is and has always been devoted to your Majesty; that many who had known him could testify to this, and he wished to tell me of it, so that if there were anything in which I wished to employ him in the service of your Majesty, I should not hesitate to do so because he was a comparative stranger, as I should find his deeds as good as his promise. He added that I might perhaps have seen him often in company of the Duke of Savoy's ambassador to your Majesty, and with the English ambassador. I thanked him for his visit and the goodwill and affection he professed for your Majesty, and said that as he was here together with Mr. Mason I hoped I should see him often; and I entered into no further particulars. Perceiving that I answered him coldly, he began to say that the English had been compelled to make peace, that the country was displeased, and that the Council who had imposed it (on the country) were keeping soldiers for fear of political changes; that the King of England had not been able to obtain any assistance in men or money, but on the contrary had been forsaken by his friends and had not been able to stand against the might of France. I replied that I could only acquiesce in the peace concluded between them; that considering the restitution of Boulogne was effected by a monetary transaction it was not possible to ascribe it to overpowering might or compelling necessity; and that I had no doubt it was all done for the best. I am writing this to your Majesty so that if this personage is known over there I may be told.
Next Monday the King is leaving for Boulogne. He has tarried here longer than he intended, while Boulogne is being provided with better furniture and provisions than the English have been willing to leave for the delectation of the French court.
The Pope despatched a messenger to his ambassador to inform the King that your Majesty had ordered certain matters concerning religion to be discussed with him, and the confusion ensuing on the current heresies and errors to be represented to him, and the decadence and obvious ruin of the Church and her authority that will follow, unless some remedy is provided. The ambassador was to declare to the King that the only means of salvation were to carry on the Council already begun at Trent. Your Majesty had called together a general Diet in Germany, and before assigning (the time and place) you had desired to ascertain the intention of his Holiness, so that the point might be disposed of with those states of the Empire where the error had its first beginning and growth. His Holiness, knowing that it was more than necessary to take steps to safeguard the interests of religion, had granted your Majesty's request that the Council should be continued and finished at Trent, provided the German states would submit to the observance of its decisions. His Holiness desired the King to be informed, and wished him to be exhorted affectionately to support and assist, as far as he was able for the sake of the pious zeal he had always shown in matters of religion, the continuation of the Council, and to send his deputies, so that the Council might be effected with a good and Christian understanding (between all princes), provided the states of the Empire would submit to reason. This morning the Nuncio had an audience of the King and Constable. I will do my best to ascertain what answer he was given, and inform your Majesty. . . .
Amiens, 11 May, 1550.
Duplicate in cipher. French.
May 13. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 1. The Emperor To Edward VI.
We have repeatedly been requested by our dear and loyal councillor and ambassador resident at your court, M. Francois Van der Delft, to grant him leave to retire from his post, and recall him to us, considering how long he has held his office, and his frequent indispositions and sufferings from the gout, which unfit him for the daily pursuits required by our service. We have this day granted him leave to return and are writing to him to start on his way as soon as possible, so that he may present himself here before we start on our distant travels. We are sending to you to take his place and present our excuses for withdrawing him for some time, our dear and faithful Councillor and Master of Requests M. Jehan Scheyfve, (fn. 5) beseeching you to listen to him and give him credence as to ourselves, and to grant him good and favourable hearing on all and sundry occasions when need may be, as we shall do to your ambassador, in accordance with the true and perfect confederation and friendship between us, our countries and subjects.
Brussels, 13 May, 1550.
Copy. French.
May 13. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 18. The Emperor's Instructions to Jehan Scheyfve.
You will depart with the greatest promptitude consonant with your convenience, and on your arrival you will call on M. François Van der Velft, to whom you will communicate these our instructions, declaring to him that, in accordance with his urgent requests that we should recall him and nominate another ambassador, and in consideration of his long services in the post he holds, and his ill-health, and of his desire to render an account of his mission before we depart and travel so far from these countries that he cannot, owing to his indisposition, follow us, we have most willingly granted him leave to return. We have chosen you to go and reside in England for some time as our ambassador, and we have sent you at present so that he may find means of leaving all the sooner, after introducing you to the King and Council, which he may do on the very occasion of his leave-taking, as we have written to him. He will instruct you on the condition of the business he has in hand at present, so that you may follow in the same path and make your requests accordingly. He will show you the instructions that were given to him when he departed hence to go and take up his post, and five of six or our last letters to him, with as many of those he has written to us. He will moreover communicate to you whatever else besides seems to him advisable for your better instruction on the business you have to treat. He will declare and deliver over to you all the means and expedients he has employed to ascertain and understand current events over there, and you will be careful to send us information thereon, and of all events that come to your knowledge. We will cause you to be specially and clearly informed of our intentions when we desire to charge you with the conduct of fresh negotiations, on matters concerning our service. You will use your accustomed diligence, prudence and dexterity, as circumstances require, and as we fully trust you to do. (fn. 6)
Brussels, 13 May, 1550.
Copy. French.
1550. May 23. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 17. Jehan Scheyfve and François Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Sire: The day after my arrival in London, on the 19th of this month, we asked for an audience that we might present your Majesty's letters to the King. The next day but one was assigned to us. The lords of the Council gave us a good welcome, and led us before the King, who received us very graciously and gave signs of great pleasure on seeing your Majesty's letter. He read it at once by himself and after reading it gave an account thereof to the lords of his Council, and enquired after your Majesty's good health. After I, Van der Delft, took leave of the King I joined the lords of the Council. Among other things concerning private individuals, we spoke of the nomination of commissioners to discuss the matter of the bulwark near Gravelines and the seizure of the French vessel which took place there, with sufficient powers to clear up the differences concerning the frontiers near St. Omer mentioned in the Queen's (fn. 7) letter. They replied that the commissioners should be sent at once; and as on your Majesty's side a man of letters (homme de lettres) was deputed for this business, they would send one too, whose name was Dr. Cook. I then took my leave of them, I, Van der Delft, and they were pleased to note the appointment of Scheyfve in my place. I am now ready to start as soon as the wind will favour me, as I shall make the journey by water because of my indisposition.
A Scotsman named Lord Erskine (sic) (fn. 8), who called himself an ambassador, was here for a few days lately, and in frequent communication with my Lords of the Council. His business is kept very secret. He left for France, saying he would return within twenty days and would hope to find here the answer to certain letters he despatched hence to the Queen of Scotland.
Yesterday M. de Châtillon and the Rhinegrave arrived here, with six galleys, well equipped. Great preparations for their entertainment were made here in London. The King has returned for the same reason. They brought with them, as we hear, one of the four Presidents of the parliament of Paris, and M. de Pot to reside here as ambassador. They are supposed to go back in three days' time.
The King's secretary, Pieter Veran (fn. 9) (sic) a native of Lucca, will depart shortly to go to Venice as ambassador.
London, 23 May, 1550.
In Scheyfve's hand, signed by him and by Van der Delft. French.
May 23. Brussels, E.A. 3681. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: I arrived in this place on the 19th of this month, and had it not been for the heavy storm that prevented me from crossing from Calais to Dover, I would have gained more than a day. Ambassador Van der Delft and I, Scheif (sic), have been received by the King and his Council, as your Majesty will see from the duplicate of our letters to the Emperor, which will also inform your Majesty of our negotiations and the news current here.
I did not fail to present your Majesty's recommendations to the King, as you commanded me. As for the Lady Mary, I will await an opportunity, for she is staying over 30 leagues from here, and the ambassador is going so soon.
London, 23 May, 1550.
Holograph. French.
May 24. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 29. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: In order to seal and sanction the treaty of peace between France and England, the King made his entry into the town of Boulogne on the 16th of the present month, and took possession of it and of the Boulonnais. He stayed there three days, and visited the forts in the neighbourhood, such as Ambleteuse, Boulemberg, the tower of Ardres, the Great Fort and Fort Châtillon. The town of Boulogue and the tower of Ardres were found to be incredibly strong, well provided with every engine and device thanks to the improvements made by the English; more especially (worthy of note) were the second fort they built near the tower of Ardres, and the artifice by which they brought spring water to Boulogne. The King is considering a project for pulling down the fort of Boulemberg and building a wall from Fort Châtillon to the Great Fort, creating a town between the two by compelling the inhabitants of the villages now destroyed to build there. He proposes to complete the fortifications of Ambleteuse and Blanquency (Blackness). During his sojourn at Boulogne he reviewed twelve OF thirteen ensigns of Gascons and French soldiers who were still in the Boulonnais; and as these men are the pick of the soldiers of his kingdom he decided to keep them in the Boulonnais and thereabouts until he could determine what should be done with them. The King granted 500 or 1,000 crowns for the re-building of the church destroyed by the English, besides giving a silver image of Our Lady to the said church; and following his example, several princes and lords joined together to defray the cost of rebuilding it. The King left M. de Senarpon as governor of the place; and after settling local business, and rewarding several lamed and invalided soldiers, he turned his steps towards Ardres for the purpose of visiting his frontiers, and proceeded from Ardres to Thérouanne, Hesdin, and Doullens. He must be at the last mentioned place to-day, where he will stay one night, and return by the post to St. Germain.
The only judgment one can give on this treaty of peace, is that it was concluded because the English were utterly destitute of resources, or because the members of the Council were bought by the small sum that was paid to them. I gather that both causes helped. They lacked men, money, and victuals; the people in England were torn by sedition and rebellions; promises and presents were made to several members of the Council, and Guidotti (fn. 10), the Florentine, is said to have rendered signal service to the French on this occasion. I hold that God has permitted this to happen as a punishment to the English for their excesses in matters of religion, far greater than any committed in Germany.
When the captain commanding Boulogne received the letters from the English Council with the command to deliver up the town, he sighed and said that if the King understood what he was doing and the importance of the fortress of Boulogne, he would not permit the restitution to be made. He did not blame the King in any way, but the Council, who would rue what they were doing. The English exonerate themselves by declaring that they were forsaken by their friends and especially by your Majesty. They reckoned on your remembering their promptness and goodwill on the occasion of your Majesty's last war against France, since which time they have had to sustain a French war to their own detriment and loss of prestige. They profess that your Majesty will find out with time that it had been better to help them to keep the Boulonnais than allow it to pass into the hands of the French.
(News from Rome that the Pope is disappointing the French by refusing to give them their way in the Parma question.)
I have been told that the King and his Council are perplexed to know what to do concerning the Council (of Trent), whether he shall send his deputies, consent, delay, or refuse. The Venetians are urging him to make difficulties about sending (his deputies), and represent to him that your Majesty's efforts tend to the reformation of religion and to establish and increase your power. If the Council is held during your Majesty's lifetime, the whole Empire will rally round you, which is the whole might of Christendom; and you will be able to realise all your plans and undertakings quickly and thoroughly. If the King puts off sending his deputies other princes will imitate his example, and the Council will not be concluded in so short a time as the Pope would wish for your Majesty's sake. Some fresh disturbance will occur, either from the Turk, the Shareef, or the Germans; or something else will hinder your Majesty. By gaining time the King will strengthen his kingdom, his friendship and alliances; and they also represent that the King of England will send no one. .
Amiens, 24 May, 1550.
Duplicate or decipherment. French.
May 27. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 1. Edward VI. to the Emperor.
We have received your letters, sent through MM. van der Delft and Jehan Scheyfve, your Master of Requests in ordinary, and have understood from them that in consideration of the long sojourn here and ill-health of the said Van der Delft, you have given him leave to return, and have appointed in his place the said M. Scheyfve. We should have been well-pleased if the said Van der Delft, who has ever shown himself devoted to the continuation and increase of our perfect friendship and alliance, had continued in his post. But in consideration of the reasons set forth above we are pleased that he should withdraw and return to you. We can only testify here that he has always dealt wisely and loyally in the discharge of the duties of his office; and we beseech you very affectionately to keep him in special commendation. As for M. Scheyfve, he is very welcome here; and he shall have ready access to our person whenever he shall have occasion to negotiate with us, and we will give him a good and favourable hearing, as the good and perfect alliance and amity between us, our countries and subjects demand.
Westminster, 27 May, 1550.
Signed. French.
May 28. Brussels, L.A. 46. Count de Reuil to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: I have received a letter from your Majesty, by which I have seen that you intend to take steps to stop the oppressions and depredations visited by the Scots, private individuals and savages, upon the subjects of this country, which will be an excellent piece of work. I wholly approve of the method your Majesty describes, and believe it to be more effective and less expensive than any other. I will carry it into effect myself, and will write to Bruges, Franeker (fn. 11) and other cities on or near the coast to induce them to adopt your Majesty's plan, which is so much to their own advantage that I do not think they will refuse. I will inform you of their reply. The ship I have had built might be ready in time; but those who are competent advise me to allow the planks to dry another month or six weeks, which I have decided to do, fearing to lose everything.
(The letter ends with a report of talk heard from French merchants in Flanders, to the effect that war will soon break out between the King of France and the Emperor.)
Brussels, 28 May, 1550.
Holograph. French.


  • 1. About three milea from Maldon in Essex.
  • 2. Edward's Journal mentions the suitor as the Duke of Brunswick, who was at the time married; the Council book says “the Marquis of Brandenburg's ambassador.” A note by J. G. Nichols in his edition of the Journal suggests that Brandenburg's ambassador may have asked for Mary's hand for Duke Henry of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel's son. From the above passage, however, it seems more likely that a Brandenburg was proposing to Mary. Perhaps Albrecht Alcibiades?
  • 3. Sir Robert Rochester.
  • 4. The Maxquia du Maine, who married Louise de Brezé, daughter of Diane de Poitiers, Sénéchale of Normandy.
  • 5. This diplomatist is variously referred to by historians as Soheyfne, Sohyfre etc., but his own signature, which I have seen under scores of his despatches, admits of doubt on one letter only: whether the name was Scheyfue or Scheyfve. Sometimes the writer uses the character ŭ, sometimes not. However, the character ŭ was employed indifferently for u and v in the middle of the sixteenth century. There can be no question as to how the name was pronounced, as in the text of letters signed in his usual manner, the ambassador always refers to himself as Scheif or Scheyff, and is so referred to by the Emperor and Queen Dowager. I therefore adopt the form Scheyfve, for the name was clearly pronounced as one syllable.
  • 6. The substance of the above, where it concerns Van der Delft, is repeated in a letter to him of the same date. Vienna, Imp. Arch., E. 18.
  • 7. Queen Dowager of Hungary, Regent of the Netherlands.
  • 8. Thomas, Master of Erskine, eldest surviving son of Lord Erskine.
  • 9. Usually referred to as Peter Vannes (e.g., Cambridge Modern History, Vol. II, p. 513).
  • 10. He is referred to almost invariably as “Le Vidoto.”
  • 11. In West Friesland.